The South African who ‘lives, breathes and tastes scrums’ is now eligible for Wales

The quote from an historic episode of Fawlty Towers stays a basic, coming after a brash and loud-mouth American addresses Basil on how badly run his institution is, declaring: “What I’m suggesting is that this place is the crummiest, shoddiest, worst-run resort in the entire of western Europe.”

“No!” shouts a long-standing visitor, Main Gowen, showing to spring to Basil’s defence.

“No, I gained’t have that! There’s a spot in Eastbourne…”

An identical tackle issues may very well be utilized to Welsh rugby after a suggestion this week that Wales now boast the weakest scrum they’ve had within the skilled period.

“No!” may be the response.

“They’d a worse scrum for a recreation or two in 2015, after Adam Jones retired from Take a look at rugby.”

Mentioned in jest, for certain, however let’s be blunt: the set-piece was stunning within the autumn collection that’s simply completed. South Africa steamrollered Wales, Australia threatened to do the identical, New Zealand gained the battle in that space and Fiji, hardly recognized for the scrum energy, shaded it as nicely.

So what to do?

Effectively, Wales must make the most effective of their obtainable choices for a begin.

After all, it may very well be Wyn Jones and Tomas Francis rise up to hurry for the annual northern hemisphere problem.

However no matter occurs on that entrance, the idea is Wayne Pivac will wish to not less than test on who else is out there.

Nicky Smith is a participant being touted for a name on the loosehead facet, however on the tighthead facet the cabinet is lower than bulging.

That mentioned, Samson Lee, if he can keep match, is a chance, whereas one other title that’s been talked about as a possible candidate is Tom Botha, the Ospreys’ South Africa-born participant who qualifies for Wales after World Rugby’s resolution final yr to push again the ending of their three-year eligibility rule due to the pandemic.

If there’s one factor to find out about Botha, it’s that he’s a pupil of the set-piece artwork.

What’s mentioned about him?

Let’s ask his team-mate, Elvis Taione, hooker on the Ospreys:

“He’s a eager scrummager and he loves scrums.

“He lives, breathes and tastes scrums.

“It excites everybody across the group, the best way he’s enthusiastic about scrummaging.

“He loves it.”


The Ospreys have gained extra scrum penalties, 13, than some other facet within the United Rugby Championship this season.

Botha’s head coach on the Ospreys, Toby Sales space was requested if the Bellville-born participant was prepared for Take a look at rugby.

“In the event you’re a part of a successful workforce, and also you’re a part of a dominant set-piece as a tight-head prop, then I suppose you’re placing your finest foot ahead and giving your self an opportunity,” mentioned Sales space.

“He’s clearly a really, superb scrummager and we’ve been with out Tommy Francis and he’s carried the torch.

“Tommy (Botha) desires to be the most effective model of himself and we’ll see the place that takes him.”

What of his basic play?

It’s truthful to say his robust level is his work on the coalface.

As Taione mentioned, he’s a participant who enjoys scrummaging and is sweet at it.

He’s additionally an honest defender who not often misses a deal with.

Not so apparent is his work with ball in hand.

He’s additionally untested as a Take a look at-quality scrummager.

However the indications are that he does what it says on the tin in that respect.

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Does he even wish to play for Wales?

Three years in the past, he did. Requested in August 2018 if he’d be keen on pulling on the pink jersey, he mentioned: “Sure. I wish to play worldwide rugby.

“That could be a dream for each child rising up.

“You wish to compete on the highest degree there may be.”

Whether or not his view has modified, we have no idea.

Is there extra?

On the identical press convention he mentioned of his resolution to hitch the Ospreys: “I wished to study the darkish arts of Welsh scrummaging. I wished to enhance as a participant and take the subsequent step and simply study off the fellows over right here. You may by no means cease studying. In the event you do cease studying then you might be getting snug. You could attempt to get higher.”

Adam Jones

He’s additionally an admirer of Adam Jones, saying in these early Ospreys days that he wished to emulate the area’s legendary tighthead.

“I at all times rated Adam as probably the greatest scrummagers on the earth. In the event you consider an ideal and pure quantity three, what you consider is Adam,” Botha mentioned again then.

“He was a tighthead who dominated the circuit world wide and he was probably the greatest there ever was. I should attempt to enhance my recreation and give attention to myself and see how I can get higher.

“My ardour is scrummaging and I really like each single little bit of it. My purpose is to succeed in the heights of Adam.”

Will Pivac give a name to the previous Cheetahs participant?

In a press launch, the Ospreys as soon as described him as a robust and harmful scrummager.

He’s a set-piece specialist.

He doesn’t have too many bells and whistles however he wouldn’t be the primary tight-head for whom that may very well be mentioned.

It’s additionally true that perhaps judgement ought to be definitively reserved on Wales’ different props till a strong-scrummaging lock equivalent to Alun Wyn Jones returns. In spite of everything, Wyn Jones and Francis did nicely sufficient final season and on the World Cup. Why ought to they misfire so badly now?

However let’s have a look at.

If it’s about growing choices, and Wales cannot repair the difficulty, the person who “lives, breathes and tastes scrums” may nicely be value watching.

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